Friday, July 02, 2004

Fade Out

Marlon Brando 1924 - 2004

"The only thing an actor owes his public is not to bore them."
--Marlon Brando

"To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication."
--Marlon Brando

When I was fourteen years old, I was taking a Tennessee Williams class and we watched A Streetcar Named Desire. At that point, even as a budding cineaste, black & white movies were like vegetables to me. And in watching Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, I realized a big part of why I’d been so cold to old films – the acting is so presentational and artificial and stagey. But Marlon Brando, ironically in bringing his stage role to the screen, changed that – and by that, I mean both my perception and the way every actor since has performed their craft. Because Marlon Brando is nothing short of mesmerizing in Streetcar. In fact, his performance is so powerful, it’s only flaw is that the actor demands the audience to side with him while the character was meant to be reviled. Still, there is no hyperbole too lavish to describe what I, as have many others before me, consider to be the single greatest performance in the history of cinema.

The world of cinema has suffered a sad loss today.


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